ACCESS COURT CASES: SUMMARY OF CURRENT POSITION 3 July 2006
Caledonian Heritable Limited v. East Lothian Council, Haddington Sheriff Court,
Court ref: B401/05
Caledonian Heritable Limited (CHL) is developing a luxury hotel, golf course and housing complex at Archerfield, near Dirleton in East Lothian. They have erected fences and notices to prohibit any access by the general public. East Lothian Council served a formal notice on them to remove these obstructions to access. CHL are now challenging this notice in the Sheriff Court, Haddington. There have already been several preliminary hearings, and 2 days of legal debate on the issue of the validity of the Notice by the Council. The case has been set down for its full hearing during the period 14th to 25th August when the Sheriff will hear evidence from witnesses.
Tuley v Highland Council Dingwall Sheriff Court, Court Ref: B201/05
This case is an appeal by the landowner against a notice under Section 14 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, served by Highland Council. The notice required him to remove barriers which prevented access by horse riders. The landowner claims that the routes that have been barred to horse riders are only suitable for pedestrians, and use by horses would be irresponsible and contrary to the interests of pedestrian users. There have already been preliminary court hearings, and there will be a further hearing on 29th August.
Snowie v Stirling Council Stirling Sheriff Court, Court Ref: B186/06
The Boquhan Estate, near the Kippen roundabout (west of Stirling) has locked all the gates to the Estate (two pedestrian and one vehicular). Stirling Council received complaints in 2005 from people who said that they had previously been able to walk within the grounds of the Estate. Council officers visited the site and decided that the land appeared to be land available for access rights under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. The Council approached the Estate owners and asked them to open one of the gates. In August 2005 one gate was open, but further complaints were received in September and it was found that the gate was locked again. There was a further site visit, involving the landowners, and the Council concluded that the land could be classified as access land under the 2003 Act.
As the landowners still failed to unlock the gates, a Notice was served under section 14 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. This Notice indicates that the landowner is required to unlock a gate across the driveway to Boquhan House. The landowner has now appealed against this Notice to the Stirling Sheriff Court. There will be a hearing on 20 and 21 September.
Mrs Ann Gloag v Perth & Kinross Council
Perth Sheriff Court, B111/06
Mrs Ann Gloag has applied to the Perth Sheriff Court for a declaration under s.28 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 that access rights do not apply to part of the land on her estate at Kinfauns Castle in Perthshire. The landowner has taken the initiative in this case. This is unlike other court actions, where landowners are appealing against notices served on them by local authorities. Mrs Gloag also claims a breach of her right to privacy and peaceful enjoyment of her possessions under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998. UPDATE There was a preliminary hearing on 30th June at which the case was set down for 23rd October. Both Perth & Kinross Council and Ramblers Scotland are defending the case.